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Holy @#%&*$% A1C

From the American Diabetes Association's explantation of Estimated Average Glucose (eAG) - check it out!

August is rapidly approaching which can only mean two things around here. The seven year anniversary of Arden's diagnosis, and the sixth anniversary of this blog are both coming soon.

Seven years in dog years is what, 49? Well in A1C years, it's 28. Arden has had twenty-eight A1c tests since she was diagnosed and most of them didn't go too well. As I've shared in the past, Arden's A1c began it's journey above nine and drifted lower over the years as I learned how to better manage diabetes. It wasn't until recently that we've made real strides in decreasing that elusive number.

I spoke in the past about the things that I attribute to helping Arden's A1c to fall. Things like finding the correct insulin for Arden, and technology like her DexCom G4 and OmniPod insulin pump. I recently wrote about Arden's decision to stop eating Fruit Loops and I think that may have put us over the top in this battle against "the number".

One year ago Arden's A1c was 8.1. Nine months ago we made real progress, 7.5 and back in January it was 7.4. I loved that 7.4 because it showed that the reduction wasn't a fluke, we were on to something! Today when we went to her Endo appointment I was certain that we would see another incremental reduction, and I was secretly hoping for 7.1. As I watched the timer count down on the testing equipment, my heart sped up just a bit. The last 10 seconds ticked away slowly, as I hoped to see that 7.1.

I'm not sure how I kept the words in my head when I saw the number, but somehow I didn't say, "Holy F*ck" outloud when the machine displayed Arden's latest A1C.


It was 6.5.

Six point five.

Six and a half.

Arden's A1c had dropped .09 in five months. I must of read that wrong I thought, so I stood up and looked closer and there it was just as clear as day, 6.5. I turned to Arden and said, "We did it Arden!". Then, without missing a beat, Arden warned the nurse that I was going to cry - but I never did. I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream into the air but I just sat back down, smiled, and told the nurse how Arden decided all on her own after our last visit to stop eating cereal for breakfast. "This was all her", I told the phlebotomist, "Arden asked after her last A1C what she could do to help it to go lower and I told her... she did the rest".


Back in February when Arden's A1C was 7.5 I listed a few simple reason that I thought helped the most to decrease her average daily blood glucose. I'm going to post them again here and then add two new ones.


Support - Love and support from family, friends and teachers is huge.

Insulin Pump - Being able to give insulin quickly and unobtrusively for meals, snacks and high BGs.

CGM - Arden's DexCom is a window to the past, present and future of her BGs and I couldn't make the pinpoint adjustments that helped us get to this new level without it. It's sad to me each day that the FDA doesn't approve it's use for young people.

Over night monitoring - Arden is sleeping almost half of each day, if you can control the night then a few bumps during the day don't hit the A1c average so hard.

Apidra - Arden's BGs are move stable on Apidra then they ever were with the other insulin she was using in the past. Make sure you are using the insulin that works best for you... not just the one some sales person gave your doc.

D.O.C. - You all give me strength to do these things when I otherwise feel like I can't. It's knowing that one of you is awake, sad, crying, happy or running around out of your mind like me that makes me realize that I'm doing okay.


Aggressively dealing with BG spikes - You know the ones, after a site change or miscalculated meal. In the past I preferred smaller boluses in the attempt to avoid a low but now I lean on the CGM and smack a high number in the face, preferring to catch it with carbs if I've administered too much insulin. The other way always left me bolusing and rebolusing for hours on end. The only thing I was accomplishing was taking five hours to guide Arden's BG back into place. Now, insulin, watch, catch the fall - done.

The new way that we manage BGs during the school day - Arden has four more days of school left this year and she has NEVER been to the nurse for a diabetes related reason, never. Arden and I text and speak by cell phone to manage her moment to moment type I needs. This new plan is one of the keys to her A1C reduction. In the past, I would make insulin and carb decisions only when Arden was with the nurse. This schedule left large gaps of time when high BGs, miscalculated carbs and the other diabetes anomalies would be left unaddressed. Now, Arden can text me if her BG is slightly elevated after lunch and we make small adjustments as we would if she was home with me. Lows are handle in kind, no more big carb intakes because I won't be in contact with Arden for many hours. We bump borderline lows and readdress if that bump didn't do the trick. No longer is the school day an eight hour crap shoot, Arden's diabetes is being dealt with immediately when in acts up. I plan on speaking more about this at length in the coming months.

This seems like a good time to remind you that I am not a doctor and that there is a clear message at the bottom of this page that insists that you never take anything that I say as medical advice because I do not mean these words to be such. I would however suggest talking about these easy adjustments with your doctor...

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Reader Comments (11)

GREAT job to BOTH of you!!!! :) I'm in the same boat as you and loving it! :)

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeanna

Yay, Arden! Way to go!

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKari W.


June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott K. Johnson

Thank you guys! I honestly couldn't imagine seeing anything in the 6 range even a year ago. It really does just take time to fully understand all of the moving parts. Such a great day!


June 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterScott Benner

That's fantastic!!!!!!

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Great news and so happy for all of you. Scott you are really a true hero to Arden. Keep up the great work you are showing Arden that anything is possible and to never give up no matter what. You are giving so much to others with this battle. You made me cry. Keep up the fight.

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichele Ovack

Sending you both *high fives!*
That's great news.
It gives me hope that we can eventually move down from the 9s.
CGM start tomorrow!

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMarjorie

I *wanted* that a1c last visit, but instead, we went up from 7.4 to 7.6. Some of the stuff you mention as ways of improving the score, I think I can do. Others, I simply can't — a CGM is out of reach at the moment (though we got some good info from the one we had up until last year). Your technique of focusing on the highs is probably the best bit — I often under-dose because of fear of lows, but you may be correct, it's best to give a high the smackdown and adjust with carbs later on.

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth

I don't mean to rain on your parade, but the 6.5 isn't what I would dwell on. The real accomplishments are what you listed towards the bottom of the post: the insulin change; the breakfast cereal omission; the not-one-single-time-seeing-the-nurse for a diabetes-related reason (really? WOW!!). Those are the "Win"s that you experience every single day, not just once every couple of months.

Still, the number that neatly summarizes all of that is certainly something to be proud of, and you're allowed to smile and gloat over that. Lord knows I would. Congratulations!

June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterScott E


June 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoana

fantastic job!

June 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchris

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